10 September 2014
A few short thoughts on Scotland and the United Kingdom
Scotland is a great nation. It already is and always will be, within the union or out of it.
But the United Kingdom is a great entity of its own: an accident of history that gives space for different nations and different peoples to express themselves within a bigger whole: a union of nations and peoples. That is something special and almost unique within the world.
But it will be damaged, perhaps irrevocably, if Scotland departs.
To me, the Scots Independence debate seems to have shown a yearning not so much for separation, but rather for a state and a country that means something - for a better democracy.
I think we can (and definitely should) all share that aspiration, but the idea that Scotland by cutting loose will be free from the denationalising forces of global wealth and power that bear down on us and our governments is fanciful – if anything it will be more vulnerable to them, as will the rest of us. There will be positive aspects in coming to terms with the reduced status that separation will bring, but they are nothing that could not be achieved within the union.
I think the rest of us in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should wish the Scots well though, whatever their choice.